Lisbon Watch »

  • Only one controversy remains. The turnout?

    October 4, 2009 @ 3:30 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    As the dust settles on what can only be described as a drubbing for the No side, only one contention remains. What percentage of the electorate actually voted? According to the official figures, the turnout was 59.0 per cent.

    The figures for the total electorate and turnout are based on those submitted by returning officers for each constituency.

    However the Department of the Environment has admitted the figures for the electorate carried on its website are not up to date as they are based on the register as of February 15th last.

    Since then there have been two supplementary registers, the first for the local and European elections in June and the second for the Lisbon Treaty referendum.

    When the updated figures for the electorate in each constituency are taken into account, the turnout falls to 58.0 per cent. The Department says it plans to correct the discrepancy in due course.

    As LisbonWatch changed the “official” figures to reflect the new numbers, submitted by the 43 returning officers yesterday, it was apparent that most of the electorates had changed since February, as might be expected since they reflect new people coming on to the register and others being removed.

    However some figures were the same as those recorded in February, suggesting some returning officers have not updated their registers. So the turnout figure of 58.0 per cent may be revised again at some future date!

  • No side blames economy but figures bear strong similarity to Nice votes

    October 3, 2009 @ 12:10 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    A decisive majority of voters have voted in favour of the Treaty. Up and down the country, constituency counts indicate a massive swing to the Yes side.

    The treaty looks like it will be passed by a margin of two to one, reversing the 53 per cent No vote recorded just 16 months ago.

    The Dublin South West constituency, which recorded the highest No vote in the State last time, has voted strongly in favour of the treaty, with 58 per cent supporting Lisbon.

    The highest pro-Treaty vote was recorded in Dublin South which saw a whopping 81.7 per cent Yes vote, narrowly eclipsing Dun Laoghaire’s 81.2 per cent.

    The only two constituencies to vote against the treaty were the two Donegal constituencies, but even Donegal as a whole saw its Yes vote rise by 13 per cent.

    No campaigners are putting the decisive swing in voter preference down to the state of the economy, which seems reasonable.

    But one can’t help reflecting on the fact that the figures for the two Lisbon votes appear strikingly similiar to the previous EU referenda on the Nice Treaty.

    In 2001, Nice was rejected by 53.87 per cent to 46.13 per cent, the following year it was passed by a majority of 62.89 per cent to 37.11 per cent.

    Last year, Lisbon was rejected by 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent, and predictions so far today indicate a 60-40 majority in favour of Yes looks likely.

    While acknowledging the role of the economy, several Yes campaigners said the strong Yes swing reflected the fact that voters were better informed this time.

    Well I suppose they would say that! It is also worth considering that turnout for first Nice rejection was dismally low, in contrast to the first Lisbon rejection which was reasonably solid for a European vote.

  • International interest in Irish vote unprecedented

    October 2, 2009 @ 10:55 am | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    The media scrum surrounding this referendum is unprecedented, with some 560 TV, radio and print journalists in receipt of accreditation for the count at Dublin Castle tomorrow.

    Last year’s vote on Lisbon attracted 350 journalists. Less than 170 of this year’s 560-strong contingent are Irish, with the bulk of the remainder traveling from other EU member states.

    The German media have 33 people covering the count, with the ZDF station sending 15 journalists and ARD sending 18. The BBC is sending a 31-strong contingent of journalists.

    Several Japanese newspapers and broadcast media will also be in attendance, while Chinese state new agency Xinhua and China Radio International will relay news to Beijing.

    Al-Jazeera and Russian state TV are among the other international media outlets that have sent crews.

    An in-depth news and results service will be available on this site tomorrow.

    The site will carry up-to-the-minute results from all 41 constituencies as they emerge, along with comparative data from the 2008 vote.

    The site will also provide in-depth news, reaction and analysis from home and abroad. Irish Times political editor Stephen Collins will assess the voting trends as they emerge, while European correspondent Jamie Smyth will consider what the result means for Ireland’s position on the global stage.

    The main events of the day can also be followed through our Twitter feed, SMS news alerts and blogs.

  • Agressive tactics on both sides stimulate public interest

    September 30, 2009 @ 2:47 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    Pro-Lisbon groups are still dominating coverage of the referendum campaign in the print media, according to the latest and final TNS MediaMarket survey before the vote.

    The agency’s latest media report, which analysed press coverage over the last seven days, found Yes campaigners accounted for 53 per cent of column inches in the national and Sunday press media, a rise of 7 per cent on the previous week.

    The survey indicated the No side commanded just 15 per cent of the coverage, down eight points on the previous week, its weakest performance in the four weeks of the campaign proper.

    Possible changes to Ireland’s taxation system and the guarantees secured by the Government remained the key debating points. But workers rights also re-emerged as a top-ten issue, with 49 articles featuring in the debate during the week.

    Researchers said the No campaign suffered over the last seven days, with Declan Ganley “unable to turn the tide in the press”.

    The survey said 19 per cent of Ganley’s coverage resulted in a “No outcome”, but more than 50 per cent of his coverage was “neutralised”, in part by criticism from Yes groups.

    Sinn Féin was the highest driver of press coverage on the No side, though the party’s stance on Lisbon received a number of attacks, most notably from Labour’s Eamonn Gilmore.

    Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins, came fourth in the No campaigner’s league.

    Much of the strong showing on the Yes side was driven by Fianna Fáil, with 48 per cent of its coverage resulting in what the survey deemed “pro-ratification articles”.

    Fine Gael and Labour also produced a strong week in terms of pro-Lisbon reportage.

    Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was also prominent for the Yes campaign again this week forcing his way back into the top-five pro-Lisbon campaigner’s league.

    However, Mr O’Leary suffered several strong attacks from Mr Higgins and Mr Ganley at an expense to the Yes campaign.

    TNS MediaMarket spokesman Dan Halliwell said: “Both sides have employed controversial and aggressive tactics to impact column inches within the newspapers, and there is no doubt that there is a greater public interest as a result.”

    “Only time will tell if the efforts of both sides are reflected in the outcome, we look forward to seeing the results.”

  • Is that what Phil Lynott died for?

    September 29, 2009 @ 6:02 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy
    YouTube Preview Image

    Après Match on Lisbon!

  • Ganley and De Rossa fisticuffs?

    September 28, 2009 @ 11:53 am | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    Just how close Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa and Libertas leader Declan Ganley came to blows yesterday remains a matter of speculation.

    The duo were involved in a bitter war of words following a debate on Newstalk’s Wide Angle show.

    The argument spilled out of the Newstalk studio in Dublin City centre, down the stairs and out on to the street with both men trading insults.

    Ganley is said to have called De Rossa “a f****ing traitor” and to have taunted him about his republican background.

    De Rossa apparently said that while Ganley liked to point out he was Irish, he had “an English accent”.

    Several bemused passersby witnessed the pair squaring up to each other and shouting expletives in each other’s faces.

    The People Before Profit Alliance councillor Richard Boyd Barrett, who was also a guest on the show, tried to mediate between the pair, repeatedly calling on both men to calm down, according to witnesses.

    Boyd Barret and the radio station later denied reports that the dispute had become physical.

    The temperature of the on-air debate noticeably rose during the last segment when De Rossa raised Ganley’s putative links to the US establishment.

    Newstalk is said to have recorded video footage of the altercation outside its studio, but there is no sound on the clip.

  • COIR Blimey!

    September 23, 2009 @ 4:00 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy


    COIR become the latest victims of a spoofer with a keen grasp of Photoshop


    Surely not?





  • Yes posters cunningly altered to distort meaning

    September 21, 2009 @ 5:12 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    YouTube Preview Image

    Several Ireland For Europe campaign posters were taken hostage last week by some devious No campaigner who deftly reconfigured the group’s message.

    The pro-Lisbon group’s soft non-threatening images of young people smiling over captions, such as “The Choice Is Yours”, studiously avoid any sententious sloganeering and steer clear of telling the younger demographic just how to vote.

    But some errant No campaigner, armed with a step ladder, added a bubble with the message “It’s simple. This time do what you’re told” to several posters in Galway, completely upending the group’s message.

    The attachments were produced in similar colours and typefaces so as to blend in with the original poster.

    Until now there have been few dirty tricks in the poster campaign arena, with the notable exception of the “No to Nuts” stunt in Dublin.

    No one has yet claimed responsibility for this series of anti-Cóir posters, depicting a monkey holding a placard emblazoned with the words “No to Nuts”, and including the message “Are Cóir driving you nuts, Vote Yes to Lisbon”.

    The posters, which were erected along several of the capital’s busiest thoroughfares last week, have been taken down by Dublin City Council.

    Cóir has accused Yes campaigners of illegally taking down its posters in several areas across the country.

  • McCreevy’s nocturnal habits upset by treaty

    September 18, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    Last time around, he caused a furore when boldly stating he hadn’t even read the treaty, and doubting whether any sane person would.

    Today, McCreevy blagged to reporters that he had done little else but read the treaty over the last six months , and was now well-versed in its many appendices and annexes.

    “My wife Noleen has said to me on repeated occasions, would ever leave down that Lisbon Treaty, and go and make me a cup of tea.”

    “My wife is very upset with me…I haven’t spoken to her in months because I’m in the bed reading this treaty all night.”

    He was a little more serious later in an address to a seminar hosted by Dublin legal firm Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney when he warned of the potential damage to Ireland’s image among international investors if the country votes No again.

    He said that as the ballot boxes are opened on October 3rd, the focus of the international media on Ireland will be intense.

    “You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to imagine how Ireland will be presented by those competing with us for foreign direct investment and jobs in the international market if there is a No vote,” he said.

    He claimed that for the past few years some very influential parts of the international financial press have taken every opportunity “to do this country down”.

    “Be in no doubt: They will use a No vote on October 2nd to stir up speculation about this country being forced out – or being forced to the margins – of the European Union and use this to highlight the risks for international investment in Ireland,” he warned.

  • Lisbon debate to be streamed from Irish Times website

    @ 3:05 pm | by Eoin Burke Kennedy

    Next Thursday The Last Word will broadcast a special Lisbon Treaty debate from The Irish Times building in Dublin.

    The debate, which will streamed live from our website, promises to be a lively affair with a formidable panel of Yes and No campaigners set to take part.

    The No team will comprise of Libertas leader Declan Ganley, Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins and Patricia McKenna of the People’s Movement.

    They will be opposed by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, Foreign Affairs minister Micheál Martin and independent MEP Marian Harkin

    Those who would like to join the audience on the day need to log-on to and register. Places are limited and attendees will be notified in advanced.

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